One thing we’ve noticed is Discourse sites putting welcome banners up, like this:
Technically this site welcome function is covered by the pinned welcome topic
But clearly we need something a bit more… obvious… for new users, as this is a recurring user-created design element on multiple Discourse sites. We also noted in a random usability test that a new arriving user indeed never found or read the pinned topic, at all.
We proposing adding a new type of topic “pin” called banner, like so:
This does the following
in general this is similar to “pinned topic” but even more prominent. There can only ever be one banner topic at any given time. If you make one topic a banner, the previous banner is un-bannered automatically.
when a topic is bannered, we insert the standard “this topic is now a banner…” staff message in the stream. (and when removed) very similar to the way pinned topics behave.
the current banner topic inserts the latest revision of the first post content into a dismissable banner at the top of all pages, with some exceptions (user pages? 404 page? but definitely topics and topic lists)
anonymous users can dismiss the banner by clicking the traditional big in the right hand corner. This will be saved in local storage.
logged in users can dismiss the banner in the same way, except their preference is stored permanently in their user profile.
the banner key should be unique so dismissing the current banner does not necessarily dismiss a future banner. This should be held by topic id – edits to the topic first post will not make the banner re-appear.
we provide a “read more” link at the bottom of the banner topic that drives users to the banner topic if they want to discuss it further.
You can see the key elements here in an example from superuser.com as an anonymous user:
- banner content (from first post)
- dismiss button at upper right
- “read more” button at bottom left